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Shawnee Public Library

For Smaller Bookworms, July 2014

Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
AR Level: 5.3; AR Points: 11.0 

In Princess Violet's world, stories are told of the twelve gods who created the multiverse.  One day Violet and her friend, Demetrius, come across the secret story of a thirteenth god, a creature called the Nybbas that was imprisoned in the mirrored sky of their world for enslaving both dragons and people.  When the Nybbas grants Violet a wish, the whole world ends up in terrible danger. Written from the point of view of the castle's official storyteller, this book begs to be read aloud.

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts
2015 Sequoyah Children's Masterlist
AR Level: 5.2; AR Points: 6.0

1963 is a year of changes. Twelve-year-old Kizzy Stamps will be attending the newly integrated public school for the first time.  Before the school year starts, Kizzy writes letters to her new teacher, layg out her self-consciousness about the scar on her face and her hesitation to throw herself in with the white students.  Kizzy draws comfort and strength from her border collie, Shag.  When Kizzy learns that a herding competition will be held nearby, she knows that Shag should compete.  But will the judges let her enter, or will the color of her skin and the racism of the people around her keep Kizzy from her dream? 

I am always impressed when I learn more from chapter books than I did in school.  This book gave me a glimpse of how integration felt to the people who lived through it.  The teacher at the black school gave up her job so her students could attend what had been the white school.  One boy wants to be Kizzy's friend, but his father doesn't approve.  One white man feels just as out of place as Kizzy does, but for a different reason.  So many perspectives.   

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
AR Level: 6.6; AR Points: 5.0

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is not your typical Viking hero.  He's too skinny, too smart--- even his name is weird.  But Hiccup is also the son of the Chief, so he strives to be the best Viking he can be.  Hiccup sees his chance to succeed when his class at school has to catch and train their hunting dragons.  Even though Hiccup's dragon is tiny, common, and toothless, Hiccup uses his secret skill of speaking Dragonese to train Toothless as well as he can.  On Thor'sday Thursday, Hiccup and his classmates demonstrate how well (or poorly) their dragons obey, but something goes terribly wrong.  A giant creature has woken up from the depths of the ocean.  It is hungry, and a Viking village would make the perfect snack... 

When you pick up this book, put thoughts of the movie out of your head.  The plot is completely different.  In this version of the story, the Vikings already train and ride dragons, and Toothless is about the size of a house cat.  Hiccup is special because he speaks Dragonese and thinks differently than the rest of his tribe, not because he chose not to kill a dragon.  Once you separate thoughts of the movie from thoughts of the book, this story is loads of fun. 

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